NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Coming off yet another season without a playoff berth, the Devils figured to make some big changes.
But nobody knew one of them would be this big.
Responsible for three Stanley Cup championship and a slew of playoff appearances since taking over as general manager in 1987, Lou Lamoriello stepped down from the position on Monday.
Lamoriello, 72, retained his role as president of hockey operations, and in his first move hired former Pittsburgh Penguins executive Ray Shero as the fourth GM in team history.
“Certainly there has been a certain philosophy here that has been successful for a number of years and I think the decision was getting someone who had experiences in different organizations, but also has had the background in winning and knows what it is to win and has experienced winning,” Lamoriello said in explaining the move. “That’s pretty important in anything you do. There is a difference.”
Lamoriello told reporters during a conference call that he had considered stepping down for a while, indicating that he was not forced out after missing the playoffs the past three seasons.
“I think we have to be realistic in life in different areas,” he said. “We have to be honest and I think right now this is a perfect time, we’ve got a got a person at a perfect age with great experience that has been in a couple of different organizations, who has had a year off and who has had a chance to take a step back to look at what went wrong, where, what went right and what would I do differently? I think we are going to be the beneficiary of that.”
Shero, 52, served as the Penguins general manager for eight seasons, winning the 2009 Stanley Cup, two consecutive Eastern Conference titles in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and had three first-place division finishes. He was let go by Pittsburgh last May.
“Ray might do things a little different than I would, so be it,” Lamoriello said. “That’s a progression. I don’t see foresee any of that being any issue whatsoever.”
“The opportunity to work with Lou was a big attraction for me,” added Shero, the son of former Flyers and New York Rangers coach Fred Shero.
The Devils are still looking for a coach, and Lamoriello said Shero will make that hire.
“I have a very open mind on everything,” Shero said.
Prior to his run in Pittsburgh, Shero spent 14 seasons as an assistant general manager with the Ottawa Senators (1993-98) and Nashville Predators (1998-2006). He also spent seven seasons as a player agent prior to making the transition to the front office.
Shero, who has known Lamoriello since both worked in the college ranks, said he spent the past year being with his family and helping USA Hockey.
Looking to the future, Shero said the Devils need to find scorers for next season. The strength of the Devils last season was the goaltending of Cory Schneider and the play of a young defense.
Lamoriello fired coach Pete DeBoer in December, and he then ran the team with the help of Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.
New Jersey finished 32-36-14, 20 points out of a playoff spot.
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